Exposed aggregate driveway

Exposed Aggregate Driveways

As a homeowner, it is highly likely that you have contemplated installing a new driveway or getting your current driveway repaired. Whatever the situation is, you have several different decorative and installation options available to you. To start off, solid and aggregate driveways are both extremely durable and popular options due to their long-lasting properties. So, what is the difference between the two and which is best for your home?

What Is An Aggregate Concrete Driveway And A Solid Driveway

Aggregate driveways are know as exposed aggregate due to the fact that the stone chips in the concrete mix is exposed in the finished surface. Aggregate can be unique because it allows you to add colour and texture to your driveway, which is very curb appealing. Not to mention, that it will greatly increase the value your home. A standard or solid concrete driveway just provides a relatively smooth finish. However, the surface can be broom finished to add a bit of slip-resistance during wet and slick weather condition. While a solid concrete driveway might not be as attractive as an aggregate driveway, they are both extremely durable, will stand up to the test of time, and add value to your home.

Understanding The Decorative Differences

When people decide to go with an aggregate driveway over a solid concrete driveway, it is mostly because of the decorative properties. Aggregate provides a completely different look, as the aggregate is multicoloured and highly textured. With that being said, it is important to note that a solid driveway can be stained, painted, or even stencilled to add a more colourful and decorative appeal as well. Of course, this can add on to the price quite a bit, but most standard solid concrete driveways are flat with a grey finish.

The Differing Installation Procedures

It should go without saying that the installation of an exposed aggregate driveway is more time consuming due to all the extra steps involved. Once the driveway is poured and smoothed, but while the surface is still somewhat wet, the installers will coat the surface with a chemical retarder. This chemical was specially designed to keep the top layer of the concrete wet, which prevents solidification. The surface will then be covered with a plastic sheet to prevent further hardening or weather exposure. After 24 hours of sitting, the plastic sheet cover will be removed and the surface will be sprayed down with a pressure washer.
This process creates a paste like surface on the top of the concrete and allows the installers to easily remove the top layer of the concrete and expose the pebbles and rocks.

Understanding The Deterioration Rate

As mentioned several times, both of these types of driveways are extremely durable, but any good installation team should recommend sealing the surface to ensure longevity. This is especially true, when it comes to aggregate driveways, because they are much more susceptible to weather and deterioration, since their surface is exposed. If not properly sealed this can eventually lead to some of the small stones and pebbles becoming dislodged or breaking off. So, it is always an excellent idea to seal both solid and aggregate concrete driveways.

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